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April 18, 2013
by Linda G. Miller
Jill N. Lerner, FAIA, with HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua at the FAR ROC competition announcement at the Center for Architecture.Daniel Fox
HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua (center) answers questions during the press conference. (l-r) Shola Olatoye, Vice President and New York Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.; Ron Moelis, CEO, L+M Development Partners; HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua; Rick Bell, FAIA, AIANY Executive Director; and Pat Sapinsley, AIA, LEED AP, Co-Chair, AIANY Committee on the EnvironmentDaniel Fox
Rick Bell, FAIA, AIANY President, discusses AIANY's role in the competition.Daniel Fox
NYC Council Member Donovan Richards speaking with the reporter.Daniel Fox

Before there were “the Hamptons,” there was “the Rockaways.” Positioned between the Atlantic Ocean and Jamaica Bay, people flocked to the Rockaways to escape the city streets in the summer. They enjoyed it so much that they planted roots, and today the peninsula contains many diverse ethnic neighborhoods. Living in Rockaway can be heavenly, but after Superstorm Sandy, we now know it can also be a deadly struggle between man and nature.

“Each time a disaster strikes, we bounce back and do better,” says AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA. “And there are lessons to be learned from Sandy.”

With this in mind, the FAR ROC competition, jointly sponsored by NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the team of L+M Development Partners, Bluestone Group, and Triangle Properties, along with Enterprise Community Partners and the AIA New York Chapter and its Committee on the Environment (COTE), was announced at the Center for Architecture on 04.16.13.

Speakers were Rick Bell, FAIA, AIANY Executive Director; HPD Commissioner Mathew Wambua; Ron Moelis, CEO of L+M Development Partners; Shola Olatoye, Vice President and New York Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.; and Pat Sapinsley, AIA, LEED AP, Co-Chair, AIANY Committee on the Environment (COTE). NYC Council Member Donovan Richards was also present.

This competition is a tremendous opportunity for teams of architects, planners, and other design professionals to develop an approximately 80-acre swath of city-owned beachfront property that has been vacant since the recession began.

The site, called Arverne East, is poised to become a comprehensive, mixed-use, mixed-income, sustainable, and storm-resilient community. It will meet the new physical and regulatory challenges of waterfront development while maintaining the balance between innovation and affordability. The competition is looking for proposed solutions that promote new housing, employment, and recreational opportunities for area residents and visitors throughout the region.

The competition will also help identify and explore best practices in waterfront development for the 21st century and beyond, not only for only our city, but other waterfront cities worldwide.

Phase 1 of the competition (the deadline is 06.14.13) seeks proposals to balance the environmental and financial challenges of development in flood-prone areas with the social and economic needs of existing communities. Guidelines and additional submission dates are available on the competition website www.farroc.com.

“This is what architects do,” says Pat Sapinsley, AIA, co-chair of COTE. “We take in vast amounts of disparate information from all types of sources and weave it into a cohesive whole. The FAR ROC competition is a perfect challenge for working in a collaborative and integrated manner with urban designers, landscape architects, and civil engineers makes us well suited to successfully tackle a task as complex as this.”

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